Feel Better

These spa treatments offer more than a little relaxation. Find the one that helps whatever is ailing you.

Ayurvedic Body Treatments
Great for: Chronic fatigue
Spa: Kanyakumari Ayurveda & Yoga Wellness Center
Price: $85-$185, depending on treatment
Contact: kanyakumari.us, 414-755-2858
Developed thousands of years ago in India, Ayurveda healing is one of the world’s oldest holistic healing methods and is based on bringing mind, body and spirit into balance with each other. The Abhyanga (50 min./$85; 80 min./$120) uses oils medicated with customized herbs to rebalance the body’s systems. Similarly, the Ultimate Bliss Package (120 min./$185) uses warm medicated oils combined with an herbal steam bath, and finishes with shirodhara, a warm oil streamed over the “third eye” on the forehead – said to help balance the endocrine system.

Colon Hydrotherapy
Great for: Tummy issues
Spa: Body Awareness Center
Price: 45-50 min./$80
Contact: bodyawarenesscenter.com, 414-347-1865
If you tend to exercise less and eat more in the winter, you might find that your digestive system becomes a bit sluggish. Although it might not sound quite as enticing as a massage, colon hydrotherapy offers a way to get things on track. During a session, large quantities of water are flushed into the colon and then flushed out, removing any waste in the large intestine along with it. True believers report feeling lighter and more energized even after their first treatment, although the center recommends a program of multiple sessions for more long-lasting results.

Craniosacral Therapy Treatments
Great for: Migraines, TMJ disorders & musculosketetal conditions
Spa: Kohler Waters Spa
Price: 50 min./$158, Saturdays $188
Contact: americanclubresort.com, 866-928-3777
This experience feels so indulgent you might forget you’re doing something good for your health. Employing a very light touch (this is by no means a massage), a therapist moves her hands over you to evaluate the current state of your craniosacral system, the membranes and fluid that surround the brain and spinal cord. She then ever so gently manipulates those trouble spots to release restricted areas. You’ll feel relief after a single session, but multiple treatments claim to improve the overall functioning of your central nervous system.

MKE MindBody Wellness. Photo by Amelia Coffaro.
MKE MindBody Wellness. Photo by Amelia Coffaro.

Infrared Sauna
Great for: The winter blues
Spa: MKE MindBody Wellness
Price: $30
Contact: mkewellness.com, 414-367-7023
One thing not to love about Milwaukee: the long, dark winters. If you don’t plan a trip to Cancun, you might want a session in an infrared sauna. Unlike a Swedish sauna, where steam heats the space, infrared saunas are warmed to about 135 degrees Fahrenheit by infrared lights. You absorb the heat below the surface of the skin, explains Aleisha Anderson, clinic director. The warmth relaxes muscles and moves blood through the body at a rate equivalent to cardiovascular exercise. Anderson recommends starting with 15-20 minutes and building up to 30-40. To help re-hydrate, there’s complimentary coconut water after your session.

Daycholah Water Cures
Great for: Soothing dry skin & easing arthritis pain
Spa: Evensong Spa in Green Lake
Price: 20 min./$45
Contact: evensongspa.com, 920-294-3347

Evensong Spa. Photo courtesy of Marcus Hotels and Resorts.
Evensong Spa. Photo courtesy of Marcus Hotels and Resorts.

Soaking in warm water has helped people relax for centuries. Add some ingredients to the bath, such as powerful antioxidants or nutrient-dense olive and grapeseed oils, and soaking goes beyond relaxation to truly renew the skin. Choose from three different “flavors:” honey magnolia, red hot cinnamon and citrus cilantro. This brief respite is a great way to moisturize dry winter skin. What’s more, regular soaks can also alleviate symptoms associated with arthritis. Surrounding the body in warm water creates a weightlessness effect that makes the joints looser, improves circulation, decreases swelling and inflammation and alleviates pain. Best of all, those perks last even after you climb out of the tub.

Deep Tissue Myofascial Release
Great for: Neck and shoulder pain
Spa: Body Awareness Center
Price: 30 min./$59-$69; 60 min./$89-$99; 90 min./$119-$139
Contact: bodyawarenesscenter.com, 414-347-1865
When something is out of joint, we tend to feel it throughout the body. “Myofascial tissue connects and protects your muscles and bones. It’s the web that holds everything in place,” says licensed massage therapist Jill Seebantz. “Any distortion is a distortion in connected areas as well.” A session is similar to a traditional massage, but no massage oils are used. Instead, therapists apply slow, steady pressure to help realign the myofascial tissue and reduce tension and tightness in the trigger points in that area responsible for the pain. Over time, regular sessions can also improve overall skeletal and muscular alignment.

Hydration Spa Pedicure
Great for: Stress relief
Spa: Attitude Nail Studio
Price: $60
Contact: attitudenailstudio.com, 414-269-9774
This pedicure doesn’t just result in perfectly polished toes. The exfoliating scrub, coconut oil foot massage, skin-quenching hydration mask and paraffin wax treatment that come with the hydration spa pedicure can help reduce stress by increasing blood flow to the feet and relaxing those overworked — and often underappreciated — muscles. As your stress levels go down, so do your cortisol levels. In healthy amounts, this “stress hormone” keeps your body systems in check during a crisis. But too much of it, over time, can cause insomnia, poor memory, weight gain, a depressed immune system and other stress-induced health issues.

Lymphatic Drainage Massage
Great for: Seasonal allergies
Spa: Epic MedSpa in New Berlin
Price: 75 min./$110
Contact: epicmedspa.com, 414-529-8400
Stress, trauma, illness, surgery and environmental factors can prevent lymph fluid from moving freely through the body. When that happens, painful swelling can occur, and illness can strike the immune system. A lymphatic drainage massage can get your system back to normal. Unlike a Swedish or deep tissue massage, no oils are used. Instead, this relaxing technique uses feather-light touches over dry skin (usually focused on the upper body, face, neck and arms) to stimulate a stretch response from your lymph vessels.

Great for: Identifying dietary issues affecting your skin
Spa: High Brow Waxing Boutique
Price: 30 min/$115
Contact: highbrowwaxing.com, 414-967-7330
Microdermabrasion has plenty of aesthetic benefits. But practitioners here are like sleuths, looking for clues in your lifestyle, skin care habits and even diet that may be contributing to skin issues. When one client came in to address adult acne, Stefanie Corbett, “head honcho” at the boutique, asked whether the client was lactose intolerant or had a diet high in dairy. The answer was “yes.” “When it comes to the face, people think it’s all topical,” says Corbett. “But really, so much of it is (internal), and it’s all interconnected.”

MKE MindBody Wellness. Photo by Amelia Coffaro.
MKE MindBody Wellness. Photo by Amelia Coffaro.

Great for: Easing depression & anxiety
Spa: MKE MindBody Wellness
Price: $85
Contact: mkewellness.com, 414-367-7023
If you’re feeling a little blue or uneasy, acupuncture can help. Although it’s typically a treatment for pain and other physical ailments, it is also effective for removing blockages that result in depression, says Aleisha Anderson, clinic director and acupuncturist. Practitioners insert very fine needles at specific points along electrical pathways to stimulate currents, alleviating symptoms.

Reiki Healing Treatments
Great for: Insomnia
Spa: Aspira Spa in Elkhart Lake
Price: 25 min./$75; 50 min./$145; 80 min./$200
Contact: aspiraspa.com, 877-SPA-2070
The Japanese art of Reiki has a reputation for promoting deep relaxation, so it’s no wonder insomnia is one health issue this ancient healing practice is known to address. During a session, the practitioner gently lays his or her hands over the “chakra” (or energy) points on the body. Because Reiki focuses on the body’s energy, it balances the mind and emotions, which quiets the mind and produces a greater overall sense of well-being — and that could help anyone get a good night’s sleep.

Well Spa + Salon. Photo courtesy of Marcus Hotels and Resorts.
Well Spa + Salon. Photo courtesy of Marcus Hotels and Resorts.

Sunless tanning treatment
Great for: Guilty sun worshippers
Spa: Well Spa + Salon
Price: $60 (Monday-Friday); $65 (Saturday/Sunday)
Contact: pfisterwellspa.com, 414-277-9207
Some people just don’t feel their best when their skin turns winter white. And while a little bit of sun helps boost levels of vitamin D in the body, we all know that sun-tanning is a dangerous practice, and tanning beds can be as carcinogenic as smoking, according to studies. This treatment provides a safer way to get that golden-brown tone, and offers more consistent results than traditional spray tan booths. After your skin is polished to perfection and rinsed clean with a luxurious shower (in your private bathroom), a tanning solution that adjusts to your skin tone is applied, by hand, from head to toe for a natural-looking tan that appears in six to nine hours and lasts about three to four days.

Thai Massage
Great for: Improving flexibility & joint mobility
Price: 90 min./$130; 120 min./$150
Spa: Invivo Wellness
Contact: invivowellness.com, 414-265-5606
While a Thai massage uses many of the same hand techniques as Swedish massage, it also incorporates acupressure points, energy work, blocking (applying sustained pressure and then releasing blood flow to the area) and yoga-like stretching (indeed, some people refer to it as “lazy yoga”). Sore muscles? Nagging sports injury? Stiff, achy joints? Then you may want to consider swapping your usual massage for this multi-faceted alternative.

FLOAT Milwaukee. Photo by Amelia Coffaro.
FLOAT Milwaukee. Photo by Amelia Coffaro.

Salt-Water Float
Great for: Easing joint pain
Spa: Float Milwaukee
Price: 60 min./$75; 90 min./$100
Contact: floatmilwaukee.com, 414-273-7258
Close the lid on your floatation tank (or leave it open) and let your troubles sail away as you bob along the surface of 10 inches of water and 900 pounds of dissolved Epsom salt. Because the water is heated to the average skin temperature (93.5 degrees), the boundary between body and water seems to dissolve. Floating certainly reduces stress levels. A first-time floater who struggles with swelling in her feet and ankles saw a noticeable difference. Another client said her joints felt free of stiffness afterwards. And there’s a special float designed to help relieve joint pain associated with pregnancy.

Therapeutic Alpha Spa Capsule
Great for: Chronic pain
Spa: The Knick Salon & Spa
Price: 15 min./$15; 30 min./$30
Contact: knicksalonandspa.com, 414-312-7947
Climb into the pod (which resembles something you might see in the next sci-fi blockbuster), and it begins to warm while a gentle, vibrating massage lulls muscles into deeper relaxation. Available as a stand-alone service or as an add-on to a deep tissue massage, it is a frequent request for those with nagging sports injuries or chronic pain. Aromatherapy and sound options enhance the experience.

Sara Rae Lancaster is a freelance writer and regular contributor to the magazine.

‘Feel Better’ appears in Milwaukee Health, a special issue from Milwaukee Magazine.

Find the issue on newsstands beginning Monday, October 31, or buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop.

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